NWA WorldVacations clients who avail
themselves of the tour operator's luxury vacations to northern
California may leave a thing or two behind in Napa or San Francisco
but, the charms of pinot grigio and sourdough aside, their hearts
just might get left in Minneapolis.
That's because --
apart from upscale accommodations, transportation and activities in
California -- the real pampering comes before and after the
journey. There's plenty of pre- and post-trip attention from a team
of six call center reps dedicated to the Minnesota-based company's
Lifestyle collection of luxury and romance packages.
A recent stay in
the City by the Bay, researched at www.nwaworldvacations.com but booked via the (866)
238-5378 Lifestyle line, began and ended with friendly, helpful
phone calls from call center staff.
From the get-go,
NWA WorldVacations' accessible Lifestyle agents demonstrated an
attention to detail and a determination to not only get things
right but anticipate needs and demands, as well.
About one month
prior to departure, a box arrived with a leather document holder,
four luggage tags, an itinerary and travel vouchers. Also included
were two complimentary Three-Day Muni Passports, good for unlimited
rides on San Francisco's cable cars, historic streetcars, buses and
phoned several times in the two weeks just before departure to
ensure documentation was in order, to answer any questions and to
offer help with dinner reservations, theater tickets or
vacation began with a direct flight, in first class, from New
York's LaGuardia Airport to San Francisco on Northwest Airlines,
with one stop in Detroit. (Note: Access to Northwest's WorldClubs
airport lounges is not included in luxury packages.)
have a choice of private limousine transfers or luxury car rentals
at their destination. Upon arrival in San Francisco, we collected
our choice, a silver Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible from National
Car Rental, with no hitches.
Of the five four-
to five-star hotels offered in the collection, we opted for the new
St. Regis Hotel San Francisco, which is adjacent to the Museum of
Modern Art in the trendy SoMa, or South of Market, district. The
property is also home to the city's new Museum of the African
Spoiled for choice
The other hotel
choices were the Kimpton Argonaut at Fisherman's Wharf, the Omni on
Lower Nob Hill, and the Fairmont and the Ritz-Carlton, both on Nob
Having paid a
premium for upper-floor digs in the 40-story tower, we were greeted
upon entering our 450-square-foot Grand Deluxe room on the 15th
floor with not only a view of the Twin Peaks but a welcome gift of
red wine and platter of biscotti, artisanal soft cheese and
The room, decorated
in whites and beiges, had a 42-inch plasma TV, a bedside digital
assistant and wireless Internet access. The bathroom boasted a
13-inch LCD TV, a deep-soaking tub, a separate shower with rainfall
showerhead and high-end personal care products by
Lifestyle collection guests also enjoy the service of a personal
butler, twice-daily housekeeping and an evening
In the morning,
after a rather pricey but mouth-watering breakfast at Vitrine, the
on-site restaurant, we began taking advantage of the one optional
add-on we booked -- the Go San Francisco Card, which offers free or
discounted admission to more than 45 attractions in the Bay Area.
We perused the galleries at the Museum of Modern Art and the quirky
Beat Museum in North Beach.
We picked up our
card, available for one ($45), two ($65) and three days ($99), at
the San Francisco Visitor Information Center at 900 Market
include a city tour at $43 per person, a hop-on/hop-off cable-car
tour ($18) and tours to Monterey and the Aquarium ($81), Muir Woods
and Sausalito ($46) and the Wine Country ($62).
Payment for hotel
and car rental, with preprinted vouchers mailed in advance by NWA
WorldVacations, was hassle-free. However, the visitor info center
staff, unfamiliar with the vouchers, were initially hesitant to
issue the Go San Francisco Card.
contact Destinations editor Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected].
For more details on this
article, see "NWA WorldVacations expands roster of luxury